Trickster Theatre
220 pages
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220 pages
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Trickster Theatre traces the changing social significance of national theatre in Ghana from its rise as an idealistic state project from the time of independence to its reinvention in recent electronic, market-oriented genres. Jesse Weaver Shipley presents portraits of many key figures in Ghanaian theatre and examines how Akan trickster tales were adapted as the basis of a modern national theatre. This performance style tied Accra's evolving urban identity to rural origins and to Pan-African liberation politics. Contradictions emerge, however, when the ideal Ghanaian citizen is a mythic hustler who stands at the crossroads between personal desires and collective obligations. Shipley examines the interplay between on-stage action and off-stage events to show how trickster theatre shapes an evolving urban world.


Introduction: Poetics of Uncertainty

Part I. History and Mediations in Making Theatre

1. Making Culture: Race, History, and a Theory of Performance in the Gold Coast Colony
2. The National Theatre Movement: Urban Art Infrastructures and a Contested National Culture in Independence-Era Accra
3. Revolutionary Storytelling: Pan-African Theatre and Remaking Lost Futures in 1980s Ghana
4. A Man of the People: Mohammed Ben Abdallah as Artist-Politician

Part II. Stagings in Millennial Ghana

5. Total African Theatre: Language, Reflexivity, and Ambiguity in The Witch of Mopti
6. "The Best Tradition Goes On": Audience, Consumption, and the Structural Transformation of Concert Party Popular Theatre
7. Fake Pastors and Real Comedians: Doubling and Parody in Miraculous, Charismatic Performance
8. Copying Independence: Backstage at the Fiftieth-Anniversary Reenactment of Nkrumah's Independence Speech

Conclusion: Unfreedom as Critical Theory

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 22 juin 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253016591
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

TRICKSTER THEATRE
AFRICAN EXPRESSIVE CULTURES
Patrick McNaughton, editor
Associate editors
Catherine M. Cole
Barbara G. Hoffman
Eileen Julien
Kassim Kon
D. A. Masolo
Elisha Renne
Zo Strother
TRICKSTER
THEATRE
The Poetics of Freedom
in Urban Africa
Jesse Weaver Shipley
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
iupress.indiana.edu
2015 by Jesse Weaver Shipley
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Shipley, Jesse Weaver, author.
Trickster theatre : the poetics of freedom in urban Africa / Jesse Weaver Shipley.
pages cm. - (African expressive cultures)
ISBN 978-0-253-01645-4 (cl : alk. paper) - ISBN 978-0-253-01653-9 (pb : alk. paper) - ISBN 978-0-253-01659-1 (eb)
1. Theater-Ghana-History-20th century. 2. Theater and society-Ghana. 3. Tricksters in literature. I. Title. II. Series: African expressive cultures.
PN2990.4.S55 2015
792.09667-dc23
2015009098
1 2 3 4 5 20 19 18 17 16 15
For Martin Weaver
an artist always in the making
W kum Ananse a, man no be bo .
[If you kill Ananse, the nation will break.]
Akan proverb as told by playwright Yaw Asare
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Poetics of Uncertainty
Part I. History and Mediations in Making Theatre
1 Making Culture: Race, History, and a Theory of Performance in the Gold Coast Colony
2 The National Theatre Movement: Urban Art Infrastructures and a Contested National Culture in Independence-Era Accra
3 Revolutionary Storytelling: Pan-African Theatre and Remaking Lost Futures in 1980s Ghana
4 A Man of the People: Mohammed Ben Abdallah as Artist-Politician
Part II. Stagings in Millennial Ghana
5 Total African Theatre: Language, Reflexivity, and Ambiguity in The Witch of Mopti
6 The Best Tradition Goes On : Audience, Consumption, and the Structural Transformation of Concert Party Popular Theatre
7 Fake Pastors and Real Comedians: Doubling and Parody in Miraculous, Charismatic Performance
8 Copying Independence: Backstage at the Fiftieth-Anniversary Reenactment of Nkrumah s Independence Speech
Epilogue: Unfreedom as Critical Theory
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments
This book is the result of the work of many people. I thank my families. I thank my intellectual companions. I thank my artistic collaborators. I thank those who taught me things about art and life, forms of sociality, and techniques of being alone. I thank my editor, Dee Mortensen; my manuscript readers; Henry Howard; Paula Durbin-Westby; and everyone at Indiana University Press for their incredible support and patience. I thank Wenner Gren Foundation, Fulbright, Bard College, Achebe Center, Haverford College, Institute of African Studies at Columbia University, and Carter G. Woodson Institute for supporting this research.
For their guidance for this research from its early stages I thank William Addo, Korkor Amarteifio, Esi Ansah, Kofi Anyidoho, Nana Akua Anyidoho, Andy Apter, Sandy Arkhurst, Samuel Dawson Asaam, Awo Asiedu, Edinam Atatsi, Africanus Aveh, Y. B. Bampoe (Opiah), Bernard Bate, Bill Beeman, Ama Boabeng, Nana Bosompra, Catherine Cole, John Comaroff, Tom Cummins, David Donkor, David Dontoh, Sarah Dorgbadze, Ekua Ekumah, Laurie Frederick, Lina Fruzzetti, Susan Gal, Shane Greene, Jane Guyer, Mike Hanchard, Al-Mumuni Ishak, Diana Kofitiah, Loren Kruger, Margaret Kudjoe, Paul Liffman, Efo Kodjo Mawugbe, Nii Addokwei Moffatt, Nancy Munn, J. H. Kwabena Nketia, Judith Nketia, Cynthia Delali Noviewoo, Albert Mawere Opoku, S. K. Oppong, Agyeman Ossei, Martin Owusu, Birte Hege Owusu-Addo, Agnes Panfred, Beth Povinelli, Brew Riverson Jr., Solomon Sampah, Mawuli Semevo, Oh! Nii Kwei Sowah, Esi Sutherland-Addy, Ice Water, Gavin Webb, Kelvin Asare Williams, and Asiedu Yirenkyi.
For their aid in this work s extended development I thank Sareeta Amrute, Mensa Ansah, Koffi Anyinefa, Rab Bakari, Mario Bick, Kwadwo (DJ) Black, Leon Botstein, Diana Brown, Tina Campt, David Akramah Cofie, Rob Culp, Mamadou Diouf, Michele Dominy, Brent Hayes Edwards, Kim and Mike Fortune, Kobby Graham, Bayo Holsey, Habib Chester Iddrisu, John Jackson, Debra Klein, Laura Kunreuther, Jason Lee, Zilla Limann, Candice Lowe, Anne Maria Makhulu, Wende Marshall, Adeline Masquelier, George Mentore, Ato Quayson, Reggie Osei Rockstone, Jemima Pierre, Tyrone Simpson, Yuka Suzuki, Ben Talton, Deb Thomas, Michael Warner, Brad Weiss, and Hylton White.
For their support in bringing this book to its final phase I thank Ama Ata Aidoo, Nikhil Anand, Ben Angmor, Amy Appiah, Grace Ayensu, Linda Bell, Kim Benston, Dominic Boyer, Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Jeff Cobbah, Maris Gillette, Laurie Hart, Tom Keenan, Paul Kockelman, Saskia Koebschall, Brian Larkin, Kathy McGee, Joshua Moses, Stephanie Newell, Zolani Ngwane, Rodney Quarcoo, Chris Roebuck, Zainab Saleh, Chika Unigwe, and Binyavanga Wainaina.
For continuing inspiration I thank Akos Abdallah, Aminata Abdallah, Farouk Abdallah, Anne Balay, Kwesi Brown, Mildred Dennis, Alex Dent, Dzino, Bill Katz, Candice Lowe, Angela and Conall Macfarlane, Rhianne McCalip, Samuel Otoo (Ghana Boy), Burke Shipley, Neal and Nan Shipley, Ruti Talmor, Freddy Weaver, Giles and Roz Weaver, Jo Weaver, Danielle Verrett, Pya Verrett, Whitney Verrett, and Shawn Wilkerson.
The conceptualization of this book would not have been possible without ongoing encouragement from Virginia and Thorne Shipley, who believe profoundly in the timeless significance of intellectual pursuit. Jean Comaroff inspired the theoretical foundations of this work. John Collins with his analytic breadth lent me a conceptual map. Tabetha Ewing s brilliance helped build and sustain its architecture. James Gibbs provided generous readings of my work and shared his encyclopedic knowledge of Ghanaian theatre. Marina Peterson creatively challenged me to link scholarly and artistic modes. Christie and Chinua Achebe supported me with patience, radiance, humility, jokes, and questions that resonate in my head. Mohammed Ben Adballah provoked and taught me, laughed with and at me, and gave endlessly and generously of his time and work. I hope his passion about political aesthetics is in some small measure felt in these pages. This book has a ghostwriter, my brilliant friend and teacher the late Yaw Asare, playwright, journalist, dancer, director, who passed away in 2002 but whose thinking and work profoundly shaped this project. I hope the following words strung together in a linear fashion adequately reflect the energy and multiple views of living, art, scholarship, and ethics that all of these people given me.
TRICKSTER THEATRE
Introduction
Poetics of Uncertainty
To take part in the African revolution it is not enough to write a revolutionary song; you must fashion the revolution with the people. And if you fashion it with the people, the songs will come by themselves, and of themselves.
S kou Tour (in Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth )
G HANA S NATIONAL THEATRE MOVEMENT emerged as the nation achieved independence from British colonial rule in 1957. Playwrights and performers molded a modern theatrical style by adapting Akan-language Ananse the Spider trickster tales for the proscenium stage. State culture, education, and media infrastructures were built on a logic that performance was crucial to making the nation. The elaboration of a shared cultural tradition legitimated state sovereignty and tied a rising urban Ghanaian identity to a rural origin, on the one hand, and to transnational African and African diasporic liberation politics, on the other. Rising popular and formal theatre styles were built on established trickster storytelling techniques of genre blending, improvisation, and semiotic appropriation. However, there are consequences for a nation whose hero is Ananse, a trickster who is the owner and teller of stories as well as their protagonist; he seeks power using guile and cunning and is notorious for his cravings, intricate plotting, and duplicity. This book examines the contradictions that emerge from the ideal Ghanaian citizen being an urban figuration of a folkloric hustler, one who stands at the crossroads of tradition, everyday city life, and centuries of struggles against European trade domination and colonial rule. This trickster takes on changing significance in postcolonial contexts as the idealistic state drama of early independence is reinvented in the populist revolutionary 1980s and again in various electronic and digital genres around the millennium. The unintended consequences of presenting the trickster as a model of Ghanaian cultural belonging create a complex blend of sincerity and parody as social values. Trickster tales endure as emblems of social risk that both celebrate and warn of individual desire. As political futures, technologies, and labor conditions change, the tendency of actors to act and publics to interpret performances on two levels simultaneously defines formal G

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